Food with a view: Dining at the reopened Fisherman at Long Point in Groton
Our mistake dining at The Fisherman at Long Point was going on a rainy day.
There was no way we could enjoy that big, two-level patio overlooking Palmer Cove with the rain pouring down, but we did appreciate the view from our window-side seat indoors and imagined a return for an outdoor visit on a sunny day.
The Fisherman reopened in July 2020 after about a five-year hiatus, and according to published reports, longtime owner John Williams has partnered with Mark Lacz and Tyler Carlson to operate it now. We went on a Wednesday night, and the bar was busier than the dining room. We were promptly greeted and seated, and as I said, we had a terrific view of the rain-drenched patio, Palmer Cove, and passing Amtrak trains off in the distance.
The menu here is predominantly seafood, and that was pretty much the route the three in our party decided to go. We made just one exception, and that was Chopped Salad ($15), a generous serving of greens topped with grilled chicken, a halved hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, roasted squash, pepita seeds, and a very tasty buttermilk dressing. The salad could have been a meal in itself. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the combination of the greens, vegetable and avocado, satisfying.
But the place is called The Fisherman, so we got back on track. For starters, we did the Crab Cakes and the Point Judith Calamari, both $15. There were two crab cakes, served with a very good lemon dill aioli, but there was nothing exceptional about the dish. The crab cakes were not overly bready, but they also didn’t scream crab meat. They were just average. And the calamari, well, it was typical, too. One of our diners, the self-proclaimed calamari snob, decreed the semolina-encrusted rings and tentacles overcooked, which immediately dimmed his enthusiasm. But he took advantage of the marinara and aioli dips and plowed through the dish.
For entrees, we did the Grilled Swordfish Puttanesca ($25), the Dukkah Roasted Cod ($23), and a special — bacon-wrapped scallops over pappardelle with a lemon alfredo sauce ($32.) Hands down and without a doubt, the scallop dish was the best.
There were four jumbo scallops ringed with crisp but not too crisp bacon served on the pappardelle with the fragrantly scented lemon alfredo sauce. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the sauce light and refreshing, and the scallops sweet and tender. Everyone sampled, and we all agreed it was delicious.
Unfortunately, the cod was overcooked. It was served on top of mashed cauliflower that was nestled in Romesco sauce with roasted tricolor carrots on the side. But the dish was bland, and the carrots, like the cod, too well done, even for roasted carrots. Even the Romesco, usually a blend of roasted tomatoes or red peppers with garlic and nuts, couldn’t save the dish.
The swordfish puttanesca was much better. It was a thick wedge of fish on top of herbed jasmine rice with a big dollop of hearty puttanesca, all topped with arugula. The sauce with the tomatoes, olives, capers, and garlic was yummy with the rice and moist swordfish.
This restaurant is in such a great location that it’s hard to believe it was closed for so many years. Located at the entrances to both Groton Long Point and Noank and with ample parking and water views, locals and visitors are certainly bound to be happy that it is open again. There’s no need to fight the traffic and search for parking in downtown Mystic when a visit to The Fisherman is so easy.
Our waitress told us you can call ahead and request an outdoor table on the patio, but there’s no guarantee you will get it, because of the demand, and oftentimes customers there stay for extended visits. But combine the indoor and outdoor seating, and The Fisherman can accommodate a lot of people.
The interior is bright and cheerful, with many big windows and a nautical theme, and the bar itself is constructed to look like a boat — with a propeller and the name “All American” emblazoned on the mock transom.
And while this is a seafood restaurant, there are also hamburgers, a New York strip steak, chicken piccata, and a Bolognese pappardelle on the dinner menu. Plus, the lunch menu offers everything from lobster grilled cheese, to a steak and cheese sandwich, grilled ahi tuna burger, crab cake sliders, and a flatbread with roasted butternut squash and goat cheese.
With plentiful seating, a big menu, full bar, attractive outdoor dining, and off-street parking, The Fisherman at Long Point is worth a visit.
The Fisherman at Long Point
937 Groton Long Point Road, Groton
Website: thefishermanrestaurant.com or on Facebook at The Fisherman at Long Point
Cuisine: The menu is heavy on seafood, from starters to mains to sandwiches, but there are options for landlubbers.
Atmosphere: This space was long-vacant before reopening last July, and it’s been all spiffed up with a nautical theme, including a giant ship’s wheel, binnacle, and salty sayings and artwork on the walls. It’s attractive and clean and offers terrific views of Palmer Cove.
Outdoor seating: Yes, there is a big, two-level patio behind the restaurant overlooking the water.
Service: Our waitress was attentive.
Prices: Dinner entrees range from $19 for fish and chips to $42 for a baked, stuffed lobster special, and everything in between. Burgers and sandwiches are about $15 and salads $10 to $15.
Hours: Open every day 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and later on Fridays and Saturdays
Credit cards: Yes
Handicapped access: Yes